Dr Catharien Hilkens

Which course(s) do you teach on?

BMS3021 Immunology of Health and Disease

Where did you do your undergraduate and/or PhD? What did you study?

University of Leiden, The Netherlands; Biomedical Sciences

What was your first job? What skills did you gain which help you today?

After I obtained my Biomedical Sciences degree, I became a “researcher-in-training’ at the University of Amsterdam to work towards a PhD in Immunology. After that I became a post-doctoral fellow at Cancer Research UK in London. An important skill that I obtained during both my PhD and postdoctoral work is writing academic papers, as well as the importance of not giving up when things become more difficult or hard; perseverance is key in a research career.

How long have you have you been teaching at Newcastle University? What do you teach?

A very long time – nearly 20 years! I teach Immunology; my lectures for BMS3021 focus on the role of T cells health and disease.

Any ongoing research now? If yes, what is it about?

One of my main research lines is the development of a dendritic cell-based therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Favourite moment whilst teaching?

Getting questions from students after my lecture!

What is your favourite quote?  

‘We will fail when we fail to try’ – Rosa Parks

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a dog.

Do you have any hobbies/what do you do in your spare time?

Walking the dog, and if there’s any time left: painting and reading novels.

Medical Nutrition Event – Reflections of a Student Dietitian

Hi, my name is Laura and I have just completed my second year of the new 4-year Integrated Master of Dietetics programme at Newcastle University. Last semester we were lucky enough to have a selection of medical nutrition companies visit us at university to showcase the range of products they can supply for various dietary requirements.

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The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

By Evangelia Rakou Stage 2 Biomedical Sciences Student

Who is Henrietta Lacks?

It might come as a surprise to you that one of the people who changed the course of medical research was not even a scientist herself. Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman and mother of five who died from cervical cancer in 1951.

After complaining of vaginal bleeding, she was diagnosed with the disease and sadly passed away several months after her diagnosis. However, her cells continue to impact the world and revolutionise modern medicine years after her death.

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